UK to Impose Deposit Return Scheme Aimed at PET Recycling

One of the main trends of the global polyethylene terephthalate (PET) market is the increase in PET recycling rates due to environmental concerns caused by the augmented usage of PET products, including drinks bottles and containers. This augmented usage is generated by consumption of diverse products. These products include carbonated soft drink, water, beer, juice, food, alcoholic beverages, edible oils, other food and non-food applications (e.g. pharmaceuticals, household products), to name just a few.

Global PET consumption during 2009-2014 (in tonnes)

Many countries have been undertaking serious efforts to establish nation-wide programmes targeted at PET recycling. The recent example is the United Kingdom, which plans to impose the national deposit return scheme, which implies the payment of a deposit when people buy bottles and cans with drinks. Consumers can later claim money back upon the return of the container. The UK consumes about 13 billion plastic drinks bottles per year of which over three billion are not recycled. In these efforts, the UK follows the policy of many countries (over 40 countries and about half of the US states). For instance, Norway recycles about 95% of PET drinks containers due to the implementation of a similar scheme, where the government and the corporate sector (primarily beverage companies) joined their efforts in setting up this scheme.

PET recycling is not a mere concern of ecological character but is a robust source of PET feedstock, which directly affects the PET market since PET recycling provides a significant contribution to PET production. Recycled PET is used not only to make new bottles, but recycled PET can also be made into carpet fibre, apparel fabric, sleeping bags, winter coats, dog beds, industrial strapping, thermoformed packaging, automotive parts, etc. Various companies (e.g. DAK Americas Argentina S.A.) are engaged in PET bottle recycling operations, which is able to generate substantial PET amount. Together with environmental concerns, this also supports PET recycling schemes like the one envisaged by the British government.

More information on the global PET market can be found in “Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET): 2018 World Market Outlook and Forecast up to 2027”.